This past weekend the Maryland Film Festival kicked off on Thursday, May 3. Opening night consisted of an introduction to the festival by director, Jed Dietz, the opening night shorts and an outdoor reception at MICA.
“Fishing Without Nets” was a striking short shot in Kenya by Cutter Hodierne about pirates in Somalia. The cast were all Somalian people who were currently living in Kenya. Much of it felt like you were witnessing real people and real conversations in an environment that you’re not used to seeing. Think of a more realistic/less stylized “City of God.”
“I am John Wayne” by Christina Choe was about a young black man who is dealing with the death of his friend. Actor Jamir Daalyia’s quiet sadness coupled with shots of a horse in the city, and Coney Island made for an interesting combination.
“Modern Man” was a short filmed on an iPhone about a man who abuses his smart phone while he’s supposed to be having dinner with his wife. This one got a lot of laughs probably due to it’s completely relatable material. It was directed by Kerri Lendo and John Merriman.
“Cork’s Cattlebaron” by Eric Steele featured one of the most uncomfortable restaurant scenes I’ve ever seen. With a run time of 15 minutes Steele manages to create extreme tension between a boss and his younger employee. Actors Frank Mosley and Robert Longstreet both play their roles very well, Mosley uncomfortable and annoyed with Longstreet playing one of the most socially inept characters I’ve seen in awhile.
and finally “The Kook” which was my personal favorite about a member of a strange cult who finds out their leader, an alien-looking hologram transmitted in the woods may not be who she thinks he is. It delivers weirdness, humor and some of the best group haircuts and uniformed dress I’ve seen. The films co-director Gregory Metnick and actress T. Sahara Meer were present for the Q&A explaining that one major problem was the lack of extra yellow sweat suits. Something I found funny was that Meer was unaware of what she was going to have to wear until the day of shooting, and her perception was that it was going to be an amish-style cult. See above: picture of yellow sweatsuits and crazy wig.
The Q&A was both interesting and funny, and questions seemed to be evenly distributed to each short film.
Afterwards was the reception with an open bar, photo booth, snack food and what-have-you. I had a really fun time, despite the fact that it was raining. That probably made it cooler right? because we were under a lighted tent. After the MICA tent we moved to Club Charles and so started my first night of complete lack of sleep.